Protests continue over dumping of coal ash at Osceola County landfill

Osceola County leaders decided to let the local landfill keep money meant for non-profit groups

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Some locals are making their voices heard in Osceola County because a landfill near Holopaw continues to receive coal ash from Puerto Rico.

The protest comes two weeks after a group of about 50 people showed up at the front gates of the JED Landfill. 

"On coal ash, the whole community's not happy," said John Haystead, president of Holopaw Homeowners. "I mean, we're basically at the spearhead of it all."

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Haystead said he can't imagine why the coal ash remaining at the landfill would be exempted from a fee paid by the landfill on all the rest of the trash that goes there.

When the fee was implemented in 2012, the 50 cents per ton was estimated to generate more than $1.1 million a year for Holopaw, Kenansville, Osceola Public Schools and The Education Foundation.

"When they make a contract without the public knowing -- I don't know, it's just not right," said Haystead.

Haystead said the county never contacted him and when his community's quarterly check comes, he'll have no way of knowing how much money night have been missing.

Protesters made their voices heard on Wednesday in front of Harmony High School, which they believe is too close to the coal ash.

"They're cutting the host fees to make it cheaper to buy electricity in Puerto Rico," said resident Mike Lella.

The county told Channel 9 it has no way of knowing for sure that the landfill is passing on any of that discount.

Some of the protesters said county leaders are losing the trust and credibility they had left.

The landfill told Channel 9 last week they plan to keep taking the ash through October.